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Monday, February 22, 1999 Published at 15:27 GMT

World: Africa

Charity frees Sudanese slaves

Women and children are most at risk from being sold into slavery

The Swiss-based organisation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, says it has bought the freedom of 300 more women and children enslaved by troops fighting with the government in the Sudanese civil war.

The organisation says they were part of a group of 600 females seized in raids by government troops and a regional militia group, the Popular Defence Forces.

[ image: Around $50 is paid per slave]
Around $50 is paid per slave
In 1998, a series of raids terrorised the local population in Abyie in Southern Kordofan, a northern Sudanese province.

The area is on the front line in the long-running war between the Muslim-dominated government of the north and the rebel south, which is mainly Christian.

1,000 freed last month

Christian Solidarity says local traders are helping to arrange the freedom of the remaining slaves.

Last month, the organisation bought the freedom of more than 1,000 females enslaved by government-sponsored forces during raids near the government-held garrison town of Wau in neighbouring Bahr- el-Ghazal province.

A spokesperson for the charity said that around $50 per person is paid, mainly in the Sudanese currency.

The Sudanese Government has asked the United Nations children's fund to look into the allegations of slavery.

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